Published in Salon
On Wednesday, with only two Republican senators dissenting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but did away with the practice of debate over both district-level federal judges and lower level executive nominees, reducing debate time from 30 hours to a paltry two, which — considering all the throat-clearing and grandstanding in Congress — functionally means no serious debate at all.
Clearly, McConnell feels every hour counts in his race with time to install as many right wing hacks into lifetime appointments before the election — or even sooner, if Trump’s scandals finally catch up with him.
The sheer scope of the power grab is even more startling in light of how effective McConnell has already been at filling the judiciary with Trump’s hack brigades. Both Alliance for Justice and People for the American Way have released sobering reports chronicling how successful Trump and McConnell have been in the takeover of the federal judiciary, a takeover that will not only outlast Trump’s presidency but could also provide a judicial bulwark to shield Trump from legal accountability for any possible crimes.
One in five judges in the federal circuit courts now is a Trump appointee, and with McConnell’s conveyor belt strategy, the bench will get even more flush with Trumpian nightmares.
“The conservative policy objective today is doing away with accessible health care, weakening clean air and clean water, giving more power to large corporations, weakening rights for women and LGBTQ Americans, curtailing voting rights and denying worker protections,” Daniel Goldberg of Alliance for Justice said in a press call on Wednesday.